Position: Left Wing
Weight: 206 lbs.
Acquired: Drafted in the 2nd round (56th overall) in the 2010 draft
Last year's ranking: 13
Johan Larsson has been producing points in the AHL for a while, but it just wasn't translating to the NHL level. Then, he was moved to the top lines, and things really clicked. He showed his offensive skill and potential, which will likely earn him a full-time job with the Sabres this season.
Larsson, whose earned the endearing nickname of JFL around these parts, scored five goals in the last month of the season. He was given a much better opportunity thanks to numerous injuries to the top lines. He made frequent appearances on the team's top line down the stretch. Not only was he scoring, but Larsson also had some of the best fancy stats on the Sabres last season. He had the best Corsi For percentage of any Sabre (minimum of 5 games). His defensive prowess should up his status with the team going forward.
He had a strong showing in the AHL as well this year. His 40 points only trailed Philip Varone and Tim Schaller, who played 11 games and 21 games more than him, respectively.
He's shown that he struggles mightily to produce on the bottom lines, which puts the Sabres in an interesting position. If you bury him at the bottom with some lesser talents like what's happened in the past, you're probably wasting his talent. However, is he good enough to make the Sabres' top six now? Tyler Ennis, Matt Moulson and one of the centers who will move to the wing (likely Zemgus Girgensons or Sam Reinhart) will likely all be above him on the depth chart.